NEW YORK--The much-anticipated Palm Pre may have gotten almost as much hype as the Apple iPhone over the past six months, but its opening day fell short of the attention iPhones grabbed on their first days.
Unlike the huge crowds of people that formed long lines and camped out in front of Apple and AT&T stores days in advance of the iPhone's launch, crowds for the Palm Pre were much smaller and tended to arrive in the morning just before stores opened.
Neither Sprint nor Palm have released official figures about how many devices they hoped to sell on the Pre's first day. But Sprint representatives had been trying to downplay expectations for iPhone-like crowds ahead of the launch. Sprint spokesman Mark Elliott told The New York Times earlier this week that the company not only didn't expect long lines for the Pre at its 1,100 stores, but that it didn't want them.
And it looks like the company got its wish. Salespeople at Sprint stores in New York City said a handful of people gathered outside their locations early Saturday morning. But most lines didn't even come close to the madness experienced on iPhone launch days.
Crowds tended to be bigger at Best Buy stores, which were offering the device for the $199 price without the $100 mail-in rebate. Customers buying a Pre from Sprint, the exclusive carrier of the device, pay $299 at the time of purchase and can get $100 back with a mail-in rebate. According to Rich Pesce, a Sprint spokesman, most new phones offered through the carrier have the mail-in rebate offer.
Many Best Buy locations sold out of the Pre almost immediately.… Read more